*And* I Have To...What?

We often ask a lot of our performers - and directors, designers, and everyone else of course as well, but this post is performer-focused.

We especially ask a lot of our performers in a summer stock rehearsal setting.

But sometimes we ask for even a little more.

Perhaps you have a special skill that the director would like to include in a show. For example: you play an instrument, you tumble, you’re a gymnast, you can juggle, you can do impersonations…or a thousand other possible talents.

And then there are shows that ask for even more than a little more, and to do it all in 8 days.

And that, my friends, is the zany, fast-paced romp that is Murder For Two at Bristol Valley Theater!

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Special Skills

When I first saw Murder For Two Off-Broadway in 2013, I was thrilled at the insane talent level of these two performers onstage in front of me.

I knew very little about the show, except that it was supposed to be extremely funny and constantly surprising - and both of those turned out to be spot on assessments. My delight was then followed by two thoughts:

  1. A show like this that requires so little will most certainly be done everywhere once licensed!”

  2. And “Wow…maybe not. That show asks soooooo much from its performers that it might be difficult to find people to do it!

Oddly, I think I was partially correct on both accounts.

As I mentioned to people this past spring that I would be playing Marcus (the detective role) in Murder For Two this summer, theatre people kept saying to me:

Wow, everyone is doing that show!”

And that makes me chuckle a little.

Now, I will say that since the licensing for this show became available a few years ago, a lot of theaters immediately pounced with a desire to do it. However! We are talking about around a dozen professional theaters that have actually slated to do this show this season.

And it’s a two-person show.

How many theaters did Mamma Mia! this year, or Legally Blonde? I don’t know the numbers, but these were both on the top 10 most produced list for several of the past few years.

But for such a highly specialized type of show like Murder For Two, suddenly around a dozen seems like a large number.

And why is that? What does this show require?

 

And The Kitchen Sink

I’ve done plenty of shows that have asked for me to include a multitude of skills other than the basics of theatre or musical theatre performance - playing piano, arranging, a cappella singing, composition, puppetry and tap dancing (both learned for specific shows), stylized singing, physical comedy, dance, etc.

But Murder For Two asks its performers for a very specific set of skills.

We begin with the basics:

  • Acting - I would hope so!

  • Singing - Not a terribly large amount, but some challenging material (especially lyrically).

  • Dancing - Not necessarily required by the text, but certainly utilized in this production!

Then more specialized skills:

  • Stylized Physical Comedy - The show calls for some very specific physical moments between the two actors, some of which are tricky, and all of which rely on very strong physical presence and spot-on comedic timing. Definitely not the most natural style for many actors, myself included.

  • Multiple Characters - The suspects role calls for the actor to play 10 extremely distinct and varied characters throughout the show. Not only is this difficult to do in general, but both actors then have to keep track of exactly whom is being spoken to and where they are on the stage, which was quite the challenge in the rehearsal process. And even though the detective role does not play more than one character, they do have to impersonate three characters during the show. It can be a crazy time!

  • Tracking Invisible People - Not a skill I would put on the resume, but it’s necessary nonetheless! Not only do we have the multiple characters to track, the detective role spends much of the show speaking to an invisible character as well. Ever tried convincing an audience that you’re speaking to someone who doesn’t exist? It’s a touch tricky!

  • Accompaniment - The first of the piano skills! Not all pianists are good accompanists, but this is a definitive requirement for this show. Both performers must be able to play musical theatre music extremely comfortably for this show to take place, and they must be able to accompany themselves as well as the other performer. Not the easiest task.

  • Stride Piano - This is a very specific type of piano playing that not everyone is aware of, though I’m certain most people have heard it at some point. It’s a style of playing that derives heavily from ragtime and jazz, which was then infused in a great deal of early musical theatre. Basically, it requires the left hand to constantly jump from the bottom of the piano to the middle of the piano and back again, while the right hand plays unrelated melodies and harmonies up top. If you haven’t grown up playing or mastering this style - and I did not - this can take a looooooooot of practice to master for this show.

  • Piano Duet - One of my favorite parts of both seeing and performing this show is the dueting that occurs between the two performers at various points. Not often do you get to see two pianists playing simultaneously on the same keyboard, but it’s so delightful when it’s done well!

  • Line Sequencing - This is more for the detective role. Much of the show is the suspects role changing characters and getting laughs, which can be a big challenge for them. The greatest challenge for the detective role, however, is that following those laughs they must move the plot forward in a way that does not usually connect to what was just said. This sort of line and plot sequencing that doesn’t follow a logical pattern was one of my personal biggest challenges in putting this show together so quickly. Lines are sometimes difficult enough to memorize, but when it’s an illogical jump, it’s even harder!

  • 95 Minutes On Stage - Not so much a skill, but still something difficult being asked of the performers. There are only two actors and they are both onstage for almost the entirety of the show’s 95ish fast-paced minutes. It’s excellent fun once you have it down!

So, as you see, it’s only a few things that are required for this show. No problem at all!

 

And That’s How We Grow

I won’t pretend that this show has not been a challenge to learn - it certainly has been!

But where and when else could I find myself in a position to push my limitations and overcome such specific challenges?

I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity to join the ranks of those performers who have performed Murder For Two and tackled the insanity that is this show. And once it’s set, as it now is, there’s nothing left to do but have a blast! Which is precisely what I intend to do. :-)

I hope to see you there!

Love Is Alive And Well On Broadway

This past Monday night I was honored and overjoyed to attend the 4th annual Arts For Autism Broadway benefit concert!

For those of you who have not yet heard about this event, please allow me to tell you about the magic that is late June evening each year.

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Just The Perfect Blendship

One of the absolute best parts of the theater that I feel people don’t talk about enough is the people - the community.

Sure, every June as we all get ready to sit down together in NYC and across the country to watch the Tony Awards, or are preparing for one of the major benefits like Broadway Bares, or even just during Pride Month in general, theatrical and non-theatrical publications will talk briefly about how Broadway is a community. And it is! It’s a fantastic community with the same pros and cons that any community might have.

But only “Broadway” is discussed as being the community itself.

And as soon as you call something the “Broadway” community, there is an innate elitism to that term - whether geographically or in terms of production budget - which gets thrown into everyone’s minds.

But what is this Broadway community? Is it just the thousands of people actively working in NYC’s largest theatrical houses? Just those who contribute to the city’s multi-billion dollar industry?

I don’t think so, no.

I think the Broadway community is far larger than that. Personally, I would consider the Broadway community to include anyone and everyone working in theatre across the entire country. I would even consider the Broadway community to include the multitude of theatre lovers - those who don’t necessarily work in the industry, but participate through other means by supporting those who do, or even just attending all productions they can and keeping tabs on what’s happening in the industry.

In my opinion, it is crucial to consider everyone involved in the theatre everywhere as part of the Broadway community.

“But why?”

Allow me to explain!

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From The Ground Up

The term “Devised Theatre” tends to elicit strong reactions from people - whether that be eyes lighting up in excitement, a shudder in remembrance of the ghosts of devised theatre past, or questioning looks from those who aren’t exactly sure what it means.

Essentially, devised theatre is a theatrical piece including any performance elements (dance, music, lights, speech, sound, movement, etc.) that was built from the ground up by an ensemble of people without a physical, linear-plot script.

Often these types of piece are made to be experimental and off-the-beaten-path, and audiences aren’t necessarily expected to feel a sense of familiarity in experiencing the performance.

But then, other times that’s exactly what they are meant to feel. And that’s where it gets super tricky.

Tonight is the official opening night of So Happy Together: The Music of the Swingin’ 60’s at Bristol Valley Theater - for which I am the Musical Director - and that’s precisely what this show was built to be: a devised musical revue show meant to be a delightful, familiar, and joy-sparking experience for the audience.

And folks…I think we did it?!?!

But how?

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Summertime, And The Livin' Is Easy...

Well, folks. For me, summer has now officially arrived!

Hooray!

I am now settled into Naples, NY for a three-show contract that will take most of my summer between June 1st-September 1st! (There will also be a little vacation and a week-long teaching contract thrown in the middle there as well!) And it’s all going to be super fun and not crazy or exhausting at all!

…Right?

Well, not quite. It’s all extremely exciting, but it will be incredibly busy as well!

So let me tell you a little about the exciting parts while I have your attention! :-D

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Stress? Psh! Injury...? Why Would You Even Say That?!

Let’s have a brief conversation - one-sided, of course, since this is a blog post :-) - about stress and physical injury in the theatre.

This is a topic that most artists - performers in particular - avoid, and for a few reasons:

  1. Injury is scary and no one wants to think about it.

  2. Everyone has stress and no one wants to look like the “complainer.”

  3. Injury has become stigmatized as something shameful.

  4. We wear our stress, and ability to handle it, as a badge of honor.

There are others as well, but I generally see these as the biggest reasons this topic is avoided. People don’t want to talk about these things, but if we don’t talk about them they become these big scary monsters that we hope we won’t have to endure.

But we do.

Stress and injury will affect everyone at some point, so let’s just talk about it.

 

Injury Is Scary

Yep. Yes it is.

No one wants to think about injury and what that might mean for the disruption of their lives, routine, and career.

However, in avoiding thoughts about injury, there is a tendency to cut back on self-awareness. People often end up adopting an attitude of:

Oh, that doesn’t hurt that much. I can totally keep going full speed.”

…And that’s probably the best way to become injured in the first place.

There’s a fine line to walk between pushing your body further in order to accomplish something and/or grow in a skill set, versus pushing your body further than it is properly prepared to go. But at the end of the day it’s you who knows this difference.

Awareness of yourself and what your body is telling you is incredibly important. Try not to overdue it. Take breaks. Stretch properly. Make use of a day off. Drink water. Breathe.

And if you feel yourself getting increasingly stressed out in your mind, that will likely translate into your body as well. That’s a fantastic indication that it’s time to give your body (and mind) a break.

Be kind to yourself.

 

Everyone Has Stress

Indeed!

But that does not invalidate your personal stress.

It is healthy to speak about what is stressing us out. If it wasn’t, therapy wouldn’t be so common, particularly amongst Millenials and the younger generations. Talking it out can be a fantastic way to relieve what’s on your mind.

And let’s not forget, if it’s on your mind then it will likely manifest as stress in the body as well.

Theatre is a business where everyone is always high energy and high stakes, and therefore stressed the Eff out all the time.

So in those moments when your personal stressors begin to feel overwhelming and you need to get it out, it can feel like you have no right to complain. Thoughts like “I mean, Daniel’s mom just went into surgery for cancer this morning and he’s still here and functioning normally” begin to creep in and we begin to invalidate ourselves.

Nah brah, you gotta talk that out!

*Note: I apologize for “nah brah” - it just felt odd, yet somehow right, in the moment.

Find that person in your life who will not judge you for your need to talk and will lend the type of listening ear that you require - whether that’s just an ear, or someone who will give advice, or someone who will provide active support or reassurances or hugs, etc. This can be a friend, family member, therapist, or unsuspecting stranger on the street…perhaps not the last.

But do what you need to do for you. I guarantee you that everyone else is - or at least should be - as well.

 

Injury and Shame

(My friend and colleague Becky Grace Kalman wrote a great post about this on her blog a few months ago - it’s worth the read.)

This one goes especially for dancers, but I think everyone feels this phenomenon as well.

Most people in our business and culture do not want to admit to themselves that they have limitations. By the same token, people also don’t like admitting that they are aging. Physical injury can be a reminder of both of these things.

And when you’re a performer, everything becomes amplified.

Somehow we have adopted this notion in our business that an injury - once publicly known - defines who we are and how we are seen for the remainder of our careers.

OOF.

That’s a tough idea to have circulating in the back of your mind all the time as you try your best to constantly become better and stronger and acquire more skills, yet remain young and spry and uninjured. This is certainly not a recipe for additional stress and therefore further injury possibilities…nope, no way…

But to an extent, this notion is true. Any injuries we sustain, whether they be vocal or physical, will remain a part of our personal stories. They will not define us, but they will be there as something we have experienced and have - hopefully, with the right care and training - overcome.

And it’s ultimately you who controls this narrative.

People talk, but whatever let them talk. Words that other people exchange have no bearing on your actual story and journey. That’s about the truth of what is happening with you.

Everyone will experience injuries of some sort, minor or major. Everyone will age. Everyone has physical limitations. But humans are adaptable creatures and survivors, and we can always find a way to continue forward even if the path now looks a little different.

But the shame culture must end. It isn’t healthy for anyone. We are all so much more than that.

 

Badge of Honor

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh boy.

To an extent all Americans do this, but it is super enhanced in the world of theatre.

Ask a theatre artist what they’re up to and they list 15,000,000 things they are, or have been, doing. They say things like “Gotta keep busy

We do a million things because we are artists and no one pays us enough and we need to find a way to make it in this current socio-economic climate (see my earlier post: No Rest For The Wicked). But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should be happy about the stress that all of this work brings!

Don’t get me wrong - we can have periods of time where we are doing a large number of things that are all positive and wonderful and career-building, and we can be super happy and thrilled and #blessed.

BUT. Even the good kind of busy comes with stress.

“I’m busy” doesn’t have to be a happy thing. “I’m busy” might very well equal “I’m stressed AF,” and that’s okay too. We don’t have to kill ourselves with our stress to prove that we’re worthy of something.

You are. You’re worthy. I believe you.

I could talk about this point for hours, but I think I’ll leave it here with the major points.

 

Stress and Injury

They are related, and we should acknowledge that.

We should also talk about this more as a community. When we don’t, stigmas grow and fear begins to creep in.

Stress and injury are not positive things, but they are natural and common. They will occur. But we can be in control of the narrative and how we handle these elements with some awareness, preparation, and thought.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. And don’t forget to breathe.

The Rumor, The Legend, The Mystery

Most people - and writers in particular - are drawn to stories about larger-than-life people, figures, and times. Moments and personalities that disrupted the status quo and changed the course of history. The extraordinary.

These are the stories that live on, passed down through facts and records (contemporary and non), as well as rumor, gossip, and anecdotes that may or may not include a kernel of truth.

The people at the center of these stories are some of the most compelling, and they have attracted the attention of people throughout generations.

And writers love them.

Historians and creative writers alike love to tackle these gigantic stories filled with change and drama, as well as mystery and intrigue, and put their own spins on them. But what they never tell you is just how difficult these people and stories are to write.

I too have fallen victim to this type of alluring narrative and - despite this post’s title - I am not speaking about the great historical mystery of Anastasia as adapted by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

I’m talking about one of Western history’s most debated women from one of English history’s most infamous time periods:

Anne Boleyn.

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It's Critical!

Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of people - friends and strangers alike - have been saying something very similar to me as a I talk about productions, performances, or people that I’ve recently seen onstage.

As I’m giving my solicited opinion and actively formulating my thoughts, people keep stopping me to say things like:

  • You’re choosing your words very carefully.

  • You can just say what you mean to me.

  • You’re trying to be so [nice/PC/positive].

This got me thinking about how we, as artists and audience alike, deal with the art of criticism/critique/opinion. I’ll also admit that I recently listened to two interviews with high-profile theatre critics - both of which bothered me in very different and specific ways that I won’t go into here - so this topic hasn’t been far from my mind.

And after last week’s blog post, which was a semi-review of Hadestown, I got a lot of comments from people online and in person that basically said “Thank you for focusing on the good.”

But isn’t this how we should be talking about art?

All of those things above that people have said to me made me react the same way:

No no no, I am saying what I mean, which is why I’m choosing my words so carefully.” And as for positivity, I think that is important to bear in mind as we critique - why focus on only the negative?

So, what is the best way to give theatrical criticism?

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"It's An Old Song" Yet Somehow New

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Hadestown on Broadway, and there is so much I would like to say about the show and the experience.

Now, when I first began this blog I had promised that one of the things I would occasionally write is theatre reviews. However, I am not a reviewer or critic (well, everyone is a critic, aren’t they?) and I personally do not feel that the world needs another small-time reviewer to muddy the opinionated waters.

So what I am going to do is occasionally write about a show or theatrical experience that moved me, and then try to speak to why. What is it about this show? What in particular was enjoyable or exciting? What was new and/or different?

***This does mean there may be mild Hadestown spoilers today - but since I am including no pictures, video, or music, how spoiled could the experience really be? (Another question for another day?) Plus - well - the Orpheus story has also been around for a couple millennia, sooo… ;-)

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Submit To Me!

All professions are riddled with systemic flaws that everyone knows about, and yet very little is done to fix them. For playwrights and musical theatre writers the systemic flaw that I hear complained about the most is the submissions process.

Now, these complaints are completely justified. The problem with the system is…well, there isn’t one.

In the professional theatre world - at least where play and musical submissions are concerned - it’s a total free-for-all. (and not the enjoyable kind, like a lovely game of Super Smash Bros. on the good ole Nintendo 64! …no? just me being a video game dinosaur? oh coo, cool…)

And like most problems, this one gets completely ignored and nothing is really done to change it. Well, I won’t say completely ignored. Writers talk about this all the time - how messy, inconsistent, biased, and often expensive the submission process can be (yes, many come with attached fees). But the people who have the power to do something about it (aka the Theaters and the theatrical community members who receive submissions) either don’t want to change the way they do things, don’t want to engage in the discussion, don’t have the time, or aren’t aware that there is a better way to go about all of this.

And there is a better way, isn’t there?

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Hole-y Plots, Batman!

Over the course of my musical direction this past year I have had the pleasure of working on shows that I know well, as well as a couple that I didn’t. But one thing is for certain - you never truly know a show well until you have worked on it.

And once you have worked on a show, it becomes ingrained in you somehow. A piece of your life. A window into a specific period of time or a specific mindset. Perhaps it changed you somehow. Perhaps it was just a great time. Or perhaps it was a less positive experience. And all of this is wonderful and valid, but it’s also not what I’m going to be focusing on today.

Today I come bearing a question. At the end of the day what is more important: an airtight plot, or to move the audience?

Several of the musicals I have worked on in my life have brought me to ask this question, but I have been thinking about this yet again this year. Of the three shows I MDed this school year, 2 of them had “hole-y plots,” yet both seemed to give some sort of emotional satisfaction to the audience. And the other was absolutely airtight in plot, but was ultimately more entertaining than moving.

So which is more important? And can we have both?

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Don't Bring Around A Cloud...

…to rain on my paraaaaaaaade! (sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

For those of you who read last week’s blog post - welcome to Part 2! For those of you who didn’t, check out the first part of the post here: As We Stumble Along…

Last week’s post focused on the more negative aspects of the risk-taking and the learning processes in this business. The journey is often imperfect and difficult and involves a great deal of trial-and-error, and that’s totally okay. But what I skipped over were all of the positive steps and outcomes that can result from this journey.

Every single success or accomplishment that is presently in my life can be traced back to either a risk I took, or a moment where I enhanced my personal education through non-traditional (aka classroom) means. And I am not unique in this regard.

So, the question becomes - how? Well, there are many routes, but I’ll tell you about some of mine.

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As We Stumble Along...

This week I had the pleasure of being part of the first NYC externship for my Alma Mater’s brand new, and now fully developed, Musical Theater Program. I had the chance to work with some lovely SUNY Geneseo Juniors and Seniors in a new musical theatre workshop - an entirely new experience for all of them - and attended the first ever Senior Showcase. The talent was wonderful, the interactions were lovely, and the entire experience got me thinking…a dangerous pastime, I know.

As a part of the workshop I had to essentially explain to the students who I am, what I do, how that’s relevant to Geneseo, and how I got to where I am. And you know what? That was much more difficult than I expected.

At this moment in my career, these are the titles that I can, and generally do, give myself:

Composer-Lyricist/Librettist (technically 3 titles?)

Performer (Musical and non-Musical Theatre)

Musical Director

Vocal Coach

Accompanist (I do this less often)

Arranger/Orchestrator (though mostly my own material these days)

One of the Geneseo students said “You do so much!” and I guess that’s true. But I think the better question is, how the heck did I learn to do all of these things?

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Medea Must Have Been An Artist

Allow me to explain.

In the art world - and particularly for musical theatre writers - we are often told that we need to be prepared to “kill our babies.” Obviously this is not meant in a literal sense. ‘Cause that would be bad. Very bad.

For non-theatre or non-artist folks, this idea might be a bit confusing. What is meant by this?

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Those Who Can...

It’s an old and cliched phrase at this point, but I do still occasionally hear people say: Those who can’t do, teach.” Which is really a misquote from George Bernard Shaw’s Maxims For Revolutionists:

“He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”

Now, is there any truth to this? Perhaps for some people. Though I would bet that those who go into teaching purely out of disappointment of falling out of their chosen profession aren’t very good teachers, nor are they likely to be teachers for long.

And yet this idea persists. Why?

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There's A Place For Us...

I was at a networking event earlier this week and got into a conversation - one that I’ve had countless times with theatre professionals and audience members alike - where the central questions are:

Should Broadway shows be about the art or the money?”

Is there a place on Broadway for shows that are only light and feel-good? What about dark, depressing shows?”

How do you expect to get new audiences if all shows look, feel, or sound alike?”

Now, I don’t find the mere asking of these questions to be problematic, but I do find the heart of this oft-had conversation to be problematic. Whichever side you fall on - and yes, there do ultimately seem to end up being two sides to this conversation - there is an insinuation that one type of theatre should exist on Broadway and another type should not.

But my big question is: Why?

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You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

One of the most eye-opening tips I’ve ever casually received in my career thus far came while doing a show called My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. It’s an absolutely delightful, folksy, and heartfelt autobiographical musical written by the Canadian husband-wife writing team (and the kindest people) David Hein and Irene Sankoff - yes, the same people behind the international smash hit: Come From Away.

It was October of 2010 and we had been rehearsing the show at JCC Centerstage in Rochester, NY in a setting where the show was being workshopped with David and Irene as we went through the script. For a new writer like me, this was an incredible experience. The show’s director and a wonderful mentor of mine - Ralph Meranto - told David and Irene after one rehearsal that I was an aspiring musical theatre writer. They immediately showed interest and asked questions. As I said, kindest people ever.

At the end of the conversation, Irene asked, “Do you follow Ken Davenport’s blog? If you don’t, you definitely should. There’s a lot of great information. We read it religiously!”

This one suggestion set me onto a path over the next few years of attempting to acquire and consume every bit of knowledge that I could about writing musical theatre. And that is why this tip was so important.

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Why Is *THAT* A Musical?

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this question, or even asked this question myself, I would have a very large number of relatively heavy and annoying coins.

But I do wonder - How often do people hear about a new musical or see a marquee and think this question to themselves? I mean, what makes a story ripe for adaptation into a musical? Why do some musicals seem like no-brainers, while others make us scratch our heads and think, “Huh. Really? That one?”

The Lehman Engel BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop answer to the question of what type of stories should be adapted into musicals is a relatively simple and subjective one: If you think there’s more within the story that should be told, and that music will enhance that storytelling, then it is likely adaptable into a musical. But if the story feels complete in its current form, and it doesn’t seem like music will enhance the piece and its purpose, it should probably be left alone.

Despite the subjective nature of this statement, I do think there’s truth to it. If you look at the types of stories that have been most successfully adapted into musicals (and most musicals are adaptations), the use of music in the storytelling has heightened the plots and characters, and filled in some invisible hole that helps the audience interact with the material.

This is the reason, I think, that certain stories see multiple attempts at musical adaptation. For a couple of examples, we have 2 adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera, 2 musicals of The Wild Party, and countless musical versions of Shakespeare’s plays (most of which have not worked well). Some stories feel as though they could be told well, or better, in musical theatre form and therefore multiple adaptations appear. Some are good, and some aren’t. Some use the original author’s intents, and some leave them behind.

Successful adaptation is a tricky process - and I know this from adapting one of the most-adapted stories in musical theatre, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow. Approximately 5-6 musical versions of this story exist, but none of them has had great mainstream or commercial success. Yet. But why? What goes into this process?

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"Get Your Education, Don't Forget From Whence You Came"

Lin-Manuel Miranda has often spoken about origins: His own, his family’s, his musicals’, Alexander Hamilton’s, etc. He has written about them in lyrics, including the one above from “Alexander Hamilton” and his well-noted “we were that kid” rap in the 2013 Tony Awards opening number: “Bigger.” It’s a common theme of his interviews, whether he is the interviewee or the interviewer. Clearly Mr. Miranda seems to think our origins are important.

And I agree.

Particularly when it comes to the arts and educating young people. I firmly believe that our experiences and exposures as children have an incredible and lasting impact on how we interact with art for the remainder of our lives. And this includes formal and informal educations, extracurricular activities, time experiencing art with family and friends, exposure to all forms of entertainment, financial abilities, general access, community practices, and much much more. Every experience in life involves art in some way, and every exposure is another puzzle piece in a child’s education.

So how do we best serve young people? What kind of education do they need or should they have? What if some want to pursue the arts and others just want to enjoy them? What about those who have fewer resources available or greatly reduced ability to access art? Where does it all begin?

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No Rest For The Wicked

(…and I’m not talking about our green friend over at the Gershwin!)

January 2 - March 10:

  • 67 Days

  • 3 Days Off, working 7 Days/Week

  • 2 Shows as Musical Director (Bring It On, Legally Blonde) and starting a Third (Rent)

  • 5 Casts (Bring It On) over 2 weekends

  • 70+ Cast Members (Legally Blonde)

  • 33 Weekly Voice Lessons and 3 Classes (regular work schedule)

  • I Repeat - 3 Days Off

March 11 - April 14:

  • 34 Days

  • 5 Days Off, working 6 Days/Week

  • 1 Show as Musical Director (Rent)

  • 2 Casts over 1 weekend

  • 33 Weekly Voice Lessons and 3 Classes (still)

  • I Repeat - 5 Days Off

For those of you playing at home, that means in the first 101 days of 2019, I am scheduled to work for 93 of them with a total of 8 off days.

We need to discuss work and overwork in the artistic world.

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